Ruby's rescue by Elizabeth Mary Cummings. Illus. by Cheri Hughes

cover image

Ruby was riding her horse Rusty when the terrible bushfire appeared. Now sporting a cast and a wheelchair (although it isn't really clear if she was already using a wheelchair) Ruby is desperate to help with the bushfire cleanup. But it's hard to move herself in the chair and her mum won't let her ride Rusty to go out looking for injured animals. She feels completely useless until an encounter with a possum with burnt paws gives her a clever idea: special gloves for the injured animals. The following pages show her brainstorming: possible names, required research, fabric considerations and patterns. There is also a copy of her letter she sends to the mayor asking for help and the flyers she puts up to get the community on board. Before long 'Everyone is happy to be working together to help the animals.'

This is a lovely story about community working together to help out when things are tough and mirrors what actually happens in our society after events such as bushfires. It shows that one person's idea and their determination to make it happen can lead to real results. It's a great example for children of their own agency even when faced with things that might make them feel anxious or helpless. Simple text makes this suitable for independent readers but makes a great classroom text, especially if looking at how to take ideas and put them into action. This is a lovely story that is relevant to many Australian children and will be especially useful for children who worry about natural disasters and their implications. At the end of the book is a list of how to protect your home from bushfires (taken from NSW Rural Fire Service Online Guide).

Themes: Bushfire, Ideas into Action, Compassion.

Nicole Nelson